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William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” Summary


Macbeth tells the story of Macbeth, a royal general who, following the prophecy that he will become king, kills many on his way to the royal throne and becomes a paranoid tyrant and loses everything at the and.

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Summary of Act I and II

Two royal generals, one is the protagonist, Macbeth, and the other is Banquo, find witches chanting. Three women prophesy to Macbeth that King Duncan will grant him the aristocrat’s title and that he will become the new king. They chant, “all hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!” (“ACT I SCENE III”). Banquo also learns about the future of the bloodline. The first part of the prophecy comes true and the protagonist’s wife, having known about her husband’s fate, decides to help him become king at any cost. Macbeth and his consort kill King Duncan in his slip. The heirs to the throne, Malcolm and Donalbain, are blamed for the murder of their father.

Summary of Act III, IV, V

Macbeth successfully becomes king, and anxiety and paranoia begin to worry him as he knows what the witches have told Banquo. The newly minted king orders to assassinate him and his son. The murder is partially successful, Banquo is killed, but his son, Fleance, manages to escape (“ACT I SCENE III”). Driven mad by the prophecy, Macbeth arranges a massacre in the kingdom, while Macduff urges Malcolm to start a war with the paranoid ruler. Malcolm, along with troops in forest camouflage, approaches Macbeth’s castle and begins the battle. Before that, tormented by her conscience, Lady Macbeth kills herself. In the battle, Macbeth surrenders to Macduff, who then decapitates the tyrant king. Malcolm becomes the new king of Scotland at the end.


This tragedy is deservedly considered a classic of English and world literature; other authors and movie directors have reinterpreted its ideas, namely corrupting power and self-fulfilling prophecy, many times.

Works Cited

“ACT I SCENE III.” Shakespeare Online, Web.

“ACT III SCENE III.” Shakespeare Online, Web.

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